Studies debunk negative gaming myths

There is a positive correlation between playing video games and feeling well-being (photo: CC0 Public Domain)

Video games help on the personal development and mental health of young people, according to studies they referred to participants in the discussion “Video games – myths and possibilities”organized by ARC Academy.

A positive correlation between playing video games and feelings of well-being has been found in a study published in The Royal Society Publishing. As one of the most popular recreational activities, gaming may actually contribute to mental health, researchers conclude.

Mental health benefits have also been found during the pandemic, when playing video games has proven to be a powerful factor in maintaining friendships and communication during a period of extreme isolation and loneliness. A Pew Research Center study found that video games are a key element in friendships for many boys.

“Video games are social spaces, they help people connect and make contact based on common values, shared goals and mutual benefits,” commented Georgi Atanasov, sports psychologist. According to him, video games can support the development of many useful qualities among children and young people, which is proven by a number of studies in recent years.

A study published in Jama Network Open, for example, found a link between playing video games and improving cognitive performance, visual perception, attention span and memory development among children, Atanasov explained.

“Gaming also promotes higher concentration, good reflexes, quick reactions, creativity, problem-solving ability. Multiplayer games develop teamwork, cooperation and the achievement of common goals, which is very important for many professions, including those in the game industry. In a surprising way, gaming also teaches to accept failures more easily”, he added.

Video games improve children’s cognitive flexibility by developing skills relevant to everyday life. They require focused perception and attention, which can improve reaction time, creativity, problem solving, and logic. Research from 2022 shows that teenagers learn spatial, visual and coordination skills from video games.

Games like Angry Birds and Bejeweled II are simple and bring instant happiness or relaxation and improve mood. This is the so-called “fundamental emotional benefit” that children can derive.

Some parents are worried about this way of entertainment and activity for children. But according to the panelists, carefully organizing and controlling video game time minimizes the risk of negative influence and leaves only the specific benefits for the younger generation. Especially for those who are interested in developing professionally in the field.

According to panelists, carefully organizing and controlling video game time minimizes the risk of negative affect (photo: ARC Academy)

“The creation of video games is one of the professions of the future – promising, stable and bringing creative satisfaction. It is important for us to encourage parents to support their children if this is their chosen professional path”, commented Milin Djalaliev, co-founder of ARC Academy.

The professions from the IT sphere are in the first place in terms of perspective and desire for development among the parents of students in the 11th and 12th grades in our country, according to a survey by BluePoint from 2022. Nearly 61% of all respondents indicate that these are the professions of the future. with 1/3 of them stating that they plan for their children to develop in this field.

The pace of development in the game industry is very fast – for years it has repeatedly surpassed television, cinema and music combined in terms of revenue. The pay in this field is comparable to that in the IT sector, with games allowing for more creative work.

In Bulgaria, the game industry is still young and developing at a fast pace. About 60 studios work in our country and over 2,000 people are employed in them. The “hunger” for personnel is great, and traditional education is difficult to reach the growth rates and the needs of the industry.

Globally, the video game market is estimated to be worth $195.65 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow by 12.9% per year until 2030. The entire video game industry will continue to grow at a steady pace, with DDM Group predicting market value of $296.5 billion by 2026.

87% of Gen Z in the US play video games at least once a week, and more than a quarter cite video games as their top leisure activity, according to a 2021 analysis by Deloitte.

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